Uruguay has made history today by becoming the first country on the planet to allow completely legal marijuana sales. The idea of legalizing marijuana for adult use in Uruguay was first proposed by President José Mujica in 2012, and was approved by Uruguay’s parliament in December 2013. There have been a lot of bumps along the way, but Uruguay has officially rolled out sales as of today.
This is truly historic, and will no doubt lead to other nations following in Uruguay’s footsteps. Uruguay’s model is different than legal marijuana sales at the state level in America. Below is a description of how things work, via the Drug Policy Alliance:
The Uruguayan model allows four forms of access to marijuana: medical marijuana through the Ministry of Public Health; domestic cultivation of up to six plants per household; membership clubs where up to 45 members can collectively produce up to 99 plants; and licensed sale in pharmacies to adult residents. Regulation will be overseen by the government’s Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis (IRCCA). Sales to minors, driving under the influence of marijuana, and all forms of advertising are prohibited.
“Uruguay’s model will look quite different from the eight U.S. states that have legalized marijuana,” Hetzer continued. “There is no one-size-fits-all marijuana legalization system. It’s important for each jurisdiction to tailor marijuana regulation to their local needs and contexts, providing the world with different models to learn from.”
Since the bill was passed in 2013, the government has been developing regulations, registering domestic cultivators and membership clubs, and preparing for the implementation of licensed sales in pharmacies. Two companies have received licenses to produce the marijuana sold in pharmacies, which will be available next week at $1.30 per gram. Each registered individual will be allowed to buy up to 40 grams a month.
Not only was Uruguay able to implement regulated marijuana sales, it was able to do so at a final cost to the customer of $1.30 per gram. I have talked to people that have consume marijuana in Uruguay, including my buddy Jorge Cervantes, and they all say that cannabis in Uruguay is of good quality. Although, to be fair none of them have consumed the legal marijuana that is now sold at pharmacies in Uruguay. Uruguay now serves as a model for the rest of the world, and people everywhere will obviously be keeping a close eye on the nation to see how things go moving forward. Congratulations Uruguay!